Quick Celtic Key Square Printmaking

Looking at a deep engrave acrylic test piece I did recently made me think of relief printing. I would probably need to use thinner acrylic, different ink than I have and, more pressure for that but, I do have some stamp rubber on-hand.

I am still working on my video production skills. So, here is a printmaking walk-through in four minutes.


Would like to know the history behind your Celtic Key Square.

Celtic key or maze patterns are one of the earliest styles of Celtic art, dating back to prehistoric times. If I am remembering correctly, the designs composed of triangular units evolved a little later. With knot work and spirals, key patterns seem to me to be iconic of Celtic art.

This sort of key pattern is built either on a grid or a rotated grid. I made another screen cast video showing the basics of how that works:

This key square is a minimal finished key pattern. The idea is, essentially, what would happen if I took a unit of a typical running key pattern border and, terminated it in all directions after one unit.


Thank you…

Did I answer what you were asking?

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Yes, you gave me a little more of the history than I had. What I have researched over the years only goes back to about 1200 BC…


Nice! I noticed you are mixing acrylic retarder with your paint. I’ve got a small set of Golden Open Acrylics, as well as some Golden retarder. I’m guessing that would also work? And is that watercolor paper you are using?

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I would expect the Golden Open acrylics to work similarly. I used the retarder to get enough working time to print with the acrylic like ink. It sounds like the Golden Open stuff is already slow-drying. The retardant and/or gel medium may also be useful in adjusting the consistency, if it is too runny.

I am not sure exactly what the paper is. It’s made by Arches. It’s left over from someone else’s college art program and, was likely used for pastels. A large range of papers should be workable for this sort of thing. You want something that won’t deform badly when damp and, will absorb ink. There is, of course, actual printmaking paper available for purists.

Note that I got the paper damp between two wet towels before printing on it. That can really help with the ink transfer on toothy papers like that.